Today we’re going to take a ‘TO’ from our 90 Day Basketball Improvement Plan.
I subscribe to a basketball newsletter written by a coach in Texas (free of charge I might add). In this morning’s edition I found an essay written by ESPN’s own Jay Bilas on American Basketball players lacking fundamentals; actually, the title of the piece is ‘Coaches Don’t Teach Fundamentals Anymore’
(Jay Bilas with a textbook overplay)
Here we go again with ESPN basketball announcers ripping into American basketball players and American coaches.
I tried to find the actual article on-line so I can link it here but to no avail. In the meantime I have contacted the coach who provides the newsletter.
Well thanks to my man, Bob Starkey from LSU women’s basketball, he posted the article on his outstanding blog.
Bilas is a guy who has been talking about this topic for a few years. He loves to rip our players for their lack of passing, shooting, dribbling and their footwork. He loves to say “WE” are not teaching our players how to play.
Who is this guy watching?
Who exactly is he talking about?
I wish he would name names, it would clear things up. By putting everyone in one group, he’s making a major mistake.
Over the years I have seen some terrific, fundamentally sound American basketball players in our country at the high school, college and yes Jay-Bird, the pro level.
And yes Jay, there are many outstanding high school and junior college coaches’ who teach the game well. (I get a kick out of every time he mentions, “When I worked the LeBron James Skills Academy Camp in the summer” on air), like that cements his place in coaching. The guy spends a day or two showing a kid a drop step and he thinks he’s done his part.
Right now at East Lansing High School, are working on our skill development in our 4-man workouts. We work on dribbling, passing and shooting three times per week.
Here’s a sample of Jay’s argument:
No reasonable basketball person can refute the fact that the fundamental skills of American players are slipping, and so is the American game. I believe a primary reason is an increased emphasis on coaching the game, and a decreased emphasis on teaching our kids how to play the game.
If the game is slipping here, then why did we sweep all the International championships this past summer, Jay? Here’s another dandy from the former Duke Blue Devil.
Generally, American players are less skilled than their European counterparts. The United States produces the best “athletes” in the game, but not necessarily the best “basketball players.
Excuse me Mr. Bilas, you are wrong. We are by far more skilled than European players. And yes indeed we have better athletes. Last I checked, basketball requires some sort of athleticism to excel. Don’t penalize American players because they can run fast and jump high.
And once again, it’s going to sound like I’m bashing the International player but I’m not, I’m defending our players here in the States.
Let’s face it, it’s a different culture here in America than it is in Europe. Kids are different. Our kids don’t have to be like kids from Serbia. Americans pride themselves on expression. We have great athletes in America because we play more than one sport. We have teenagers that play up to 3 sports per year. (And by the way, our players here in America have heart and toughness, something you can’t teach)
It’s a disservice to all Americans involved in basketball to be compared to the International game. Has anyone noticed Kevin Durant? And just because LeBron James left Cleveland, and the way he did it, does that take away from his basketball skills?
How about Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Timmy Duncan, Chauncey Billups, Shane Battier, Steph Curry, Butler, Duke, Michigan State?
Don’t get fooled by what Bilas and other disgruntled journalists in America say about the game, they never give credit where credit is due. When we win a Gold medal in international play, we were “supposed to win“. When we lose, all hell breaks loose.
A few summers ago when Team USA did poorly in International play everyone blamed our lack of teamwork and that there was too much one-on-one. The following year we were treated to the NBA championship which saw the Detroit Pistons and the San Antonio Spurs. Well many people said the series was boring. Boring? You had two fundamentally sound, solid defensive teams playing the right way. Isn’t that what the pundits wanted to see?
The next time Bilas is on the East Coast, he should make it a point to stop by Saint Anthony’s of Jersey City in New Jersey and observe Coach Bob Hurley and his varsity basketball team.
The game of basketball here in America is doing just fine…Maybe it’s the business side of basketball Bilas should examine.
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